Raising of eco-consciousness has long been taking place in the perfume and cosmetics industry. Now there are awards for how well that raised awareness manifests into a meaningful response. Jewelry Design Professor Wendy Yothers recently designed four trophies, in two different styles, for the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) and the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries.
CEW is mum about the recipient of a bowl-shaped trophy made of precious koa wood, to be awarded this summer, which gives us time to linger over Yothers’ creations.
Eco award by Wendy Yothers
- Three of the awards are tapering obelisks made of crystal. “They wanted something to reflect a sense of our great city,” says Yothers. “It takes water and patience and a study of the refraction to create the visual affect you want in crystal.”
CEW eco award by Wendy Yothers
Yothers used koa, considered the “royal wood of Hawaii,” for a bowl-shaped award. Koa can only be “harvested by windfall” says Yothers, meaning only felled branches or trees can be exploited. But like royalty it has a linage. “You can’t cross its grain. You must respect its character or you’re done.” Yothers worked from the side of the koa so the bark could remain as a design element along the bowl’s rim. “You need good control of your craft and you need to know where you want to go,” she said.
Yothers chooses to retire to the sidelines when her work is done. She says she wants the receiver “to look at it and say ‘I’m worth it!’ They don’t need to know about me. When the art is good, it goes straight through; It becomes yours,” she says of the receivers-to-be.
Wendy Yothers’ silver and engraved glass, “Baba Yagga’s Teapots for brewing Light and Dark Spells,” were deemed bewitching enough to join the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection last year. Now the FIT professor’s latest teapot designs will be on exhibit at the Hot Tea Bienniale, an invitation only exhibit at the Craft Alliance in St. Louis, March 9-April 22.
- “Rain Forest Teapot,” made of rain forest woods and deer antlers.
“She’s just phenomenal. She’s a sculptor and an artist. Her teapots are beautiful. They’re contemporary realization of ancient skills,” says FIT Jewelry Design Chair Michael Coan”
Artists are chosen for the Hot Tea Bienniale with a two-year lead time–plenty of time for inspiration to brew. ”I loved re-thinking teapots and tea to create new work, ” says Yothers. ”Everything I make is inspired by its function–its use in daily human society.”
- “Teapot 1″ for the Hot Tea Bienniale in St. Louis
Yothers hasn’t made tea in her teapots, but says they are all “tea-worthy.” ”Most people would rather look at them than use them.” Her own preference is for a good cup of fresh brewed tea. But “tea bags are fine if that’s what’s available,” she says.
- “Teapot 2″ for the Teapot Biennial in St. Louis
Yothers’ pair of tea caddys she made for the Bienniale were constructed from camoe engraved glass, silver, a pearl, and a black Tahitian pearl.
- “Teapots for brewing Light and Dark Spells,” in the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Yothers, a silversmith by trade, makes, designs, and restores teapots. ”It’s not my first rodeo with tea vessels, sacred and profane,” she says.
Images used with permission